Tuesday, March 31, 2015

3 Strategies to Segment Audiences and Personalize Digital Marketing

Recently I came across an article on the Social Times (http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/3-strategies-to-segment-audiences-and-personalize-digital-marketing/617284). Today’s consumers are not silent spectators or passive listeners. Instead, companies are dealing with an empowered audience — engaged in real-time social and mobile conversations, but fragmented across many digital platforms.

While digital marketers are well aware that they must segment their audience and deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time, many struggle with tactical yet effective ways to pinpoint audiences based on needs, expectations and behaviors.

Use Digital Platforms to Build Consumer Personas

Customers are more than just a gender, age, and location recorded in some database. Marketers need to also understand the behaviors and preferences of customers in order to provide them with the best possible experiences while simultaneously influencing their purchasing plans.

STA Travel, a youth-focused travel company, used an Offerpop quiz to better understand the interests of their audience and direct them to personalized travel options. The quiz placed participants into one of five personality-based “Travel Tribes:” Life & Soul, Thrill Seeker, A-Lister, Free Wheeler, and Live like a Local. The campaign yielded over 40,000 responses, providing a wealth of persona data that STA used to target offers to customers.

STA’s website traffic increased, sales grew and they gained more than 10,000 new potential customers using a fun and engaging campaign.

Persona building is a great way to avoid pitching irrelevant marketing content to consumers. For instance, travelers interested in yoga, meditation and soulful retreats most likely are not interested in VIP club access or weekend party yacht rentals. Being more targeted will ensure your content resonates with your customers.

Integrate unique experiences for real-time consumer journey insight

Forrester’s report on Competitive Strategy in the Age of the Consumer emphasizes going beyond consumer historical data, and expanding analysis to better understand “the next step a consumer may take.” Customers come into contact with brands at varying stages; some are ready to purchase, others are there to gather information, and it’s up to brands to offer experiences that cater to each specific situation, and move the consumer closer to conversion..

Brand-to-consumer experiences help brands gain a real-time understanding of where an individual is in the buying cycle, and how the brand can move them along the path to purchase.

Be generous with content and rewards by incorporating contests and discount offerings to consumers, but keep those offerings pertinent to the needs, wants, and desires of each audience segment.

Advocate Health Care, one of the largest hospital and health systems in the Midwest, launched a GoPro giveaway and integrated marketing campaign to promote local health and wellness. Grounded in a hashtag to collect and display user-generated content, and promoted around the city with billboards, TV ads, and digital advertising targeted at outdoors and fitness enthusiasts, #HealthiestLife aggregated more than 3,000 pieces of repurposable user-generated content. Advocate Health Care was able to collect opt-in permissions and deliver follow-up marketing initiatives relevant to the audiences activity. The well-catered messaging ultimately resulted in a 26 percent increase in physician appointments, not to mention a 126 percent jump in traffic to the user-generated content gallery on their website.

Identify new touch points for audience segments using an omni-channel approach

Different audiences open their doors to brands at varying stages of the sales cycle. By including utility-focused content and engagement tools into your strategies, you will find previously unknown avenues to interact with consumers. Tracking targeted content allows marketers to see when different audiences are activated — a great building point for future campaigns.

Following an incredibly successful user-generated content campaign, tote bag retailer SCOUT drove e-commerce sales by repurposing UGC in various touch points across their digital marketing channels.

The SCOUT marketing team discovered that featuring user-generated content in an online holiday gift guide and their email marketing resulted in a significant increase in web traffic from existing fans. Additionally, they experienced such a high volume of web visitors and social media fans visiting the gallery, that they replaced the ‘SALE’ tab in the header of emails with the #scoutbags user-generated content gallery, which effectively drove more consumers to in-season products. Finally, SCOUT included a print promotion for the campaign with every order to remind customers to continue sharing their SCOUT moments.

SCOUT tracked which content generates the most clicks and shares and used this information to optimize their visual marketing strategy and cater to their audiences needs and preferences. And it worked – sales from social traffic increased an average of 67.5 percent by the end of 2014.

Audience segmentation has gone real-time. Brands are building consumer profiles that are constantly tracking what you like, what you buy, how you buy it, and millions of other digital interactions on an ongoing basis. But the potential of this power is lost if marketers aren’t tracking, segmenting, and revamping their messaging to match their audience. Sending the wrong message to the wrong audience is not only wasted time — it can also harm your relationship with potential customers.


The Data-Driven Art Of Digital Marketing

Recently I came across an article on the Marketing Land (http://marketingland.com/data-driven-art-digital-marketing-121667). I love tech and data. In fact, there is nothing I like more than utilizing data to make informed decisions. Magnetic (my employer) has run at least a hundred thousand campaigns, and we are accountable for every last one of them. The metrics and analytics we see for each campaign flight provide a compelling view on how to best optimize each campaign for maximum ROI.

What makes the conversation interesting is that sitting right next to the science of marketing is her sister, the art of marketing. Figuring out how to best utilize all these data points is truly an art form. Let’s delve into some of the finer arts of digital marketing.

Multiple Devices Means More Data
As digital marketers, we’ve shifted from targeting a shared family computer to targeting a single person that uses multiple devices. The obvious impact of this evolution is that many companies now have more user profiles than there are consumers. In response, marketers must apply a cross device targeting strategy, giving advertisers the ability to measure for cross device attribution.

So far, so great; however, if you target across devices, but your attribution model can’t give credit for that mobile ad that drove a desktop conversion, then your campaign will appear to be performing poorly. This shortcoming makes it impossible to optimize campaigns properly.

We are huge advocates of fractional attribution, and marketers can work with external companies to achieve this. However, if it’s not possible for whatever reason, your results or return on ad spend (ROAS) will improve by turning off cross-device targeting and keeping your mobile and desktop campaigns siloed until your attribution problem is fixed.

The Most Important Metric: ROAS
Return on ad spend (ROAS) is the most fundamental metric. It is also the one most open to artistic interpretation because you can’t calculate ROAS without making assumptions about attribution. Even if you use the most successful attribution system in the world, you still won’t achieve perfect results. This is because different campaigns perform differently during each stage of a consumer’s purchase journey.

For example, branding campaigns are not going to get the same result as a targeted, lower-funnel sales promotion designed to move goods immediately. Further, we commonly see campaigns use the wrong metric to measure the desired result.

Andy Frawley wrote an interesting article about how we should move away from simply measuring ROI. He proposes a new measurement: Return on Experience and Engagement. Broadly speaking, Frawley addresses how measurement metrics are often too narrow. For example, performance marketers hold their measures too tight, e.g. last click before purchase gets 100% credit, and awareness campaigns look at a set of digital metrics rather than a broader change in consumer intent.

Dynamic Creative Is Key for Personalized Ads
Almost any programmatic campaign today uses massive amounts of data and extraordinarily sophisticated algorithms to decide whether or not to deliver an ad. But, there are few campaigns outside of site retargeting that use data and apply it to ad customization. I suspect that much of this comes from industry inefficiencies: creative agencies are separated from media buying organizations.

That said, you don’t have to be a huge retailer with millions of products to use dynamic creative. Small to mid-sized retailers can also take advantage of data to help customize their creative messages, creating a more personalized marketing experience, which ultimately will lead to better results.

Don’t Rely Too Heavily On Click-Through Rate (CTR) As A Metric
If you ask an algorithm to optimize to a CTR goal, it will optimize to the consumers who click more often. This is just an arbitrary section of the general public, the same as people with brown hair, those that are 5’9’’, or people from Fargo, North Dakota. These people may or may not have anything in common with your best customers.

We’ve all talked about the collapse of the purchase funnel and how a consumer’s path-to-purchase has become fuzzy and difficult to follow. What has yet to happen is the widespread use of dynamic campaigns that run from awareness to purchase. The industry is still under the assumption that campaign strategies should be siloed: my awareness campaign will run here, my in-market campaign will run there, and I will use site retargeting to close the deal.

The future of our industry is combining these separate strategies into one. And technology will infer by the actions you take where you are in your decision making process. Many companies can do this for marketers today, but few actually take advantage of this.

We know that in our digital indulgent world, some consumers will take thirty minutes to make a decision while others will take thirty days. Some people will only shop online, while others prefer the in-store experience. Most people will be seen online and offline using multiple devices.

Data and device information can be used to figure out which ad to show and what the message should be. This can be fully automated from beginning to end, but you’ll always need a partner to make sure that the measurement, analysis, and messages make sense together, performing in harmony. That’s art.


REPORT: Key Players in Digital Marketing Are Shifting

Recently I came across an article on the Social Times (http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/emarketer-digital-marketing/617758). For many tech companies, like Google and Yahoo, digital advertising has become an important part of their business models. Companies that can capitalize on digital ads can push themselves to the top of the market, as Facebook has done in recent years. New data from eMarketer examines how digital marketing’s key players will shift positions in the coming years.

The revenue generated by digital marketing is growing every year, so it is no wonder that social companies would attempt to leverage their user bases to cash in. eMarketer predicts that the combined expenditure on U.S. digital display ads in 2015 will top  $27 billion, and that spending could increase to more than $37 billion by 2017.

Facebook is predicted to capture 25.2 percent of the revenue in the market this year, possibly a result of aggressive expansion. This represents growth of 1.4 percent compared to 2014; however, the growth of market share will increase revenue 29 percent to $6.82 billion, according to eMarketer’s predictions.

Twitter’s share of the market is predicted to increase its by 1.3 percent, with a revenue increase of more than 62 percent. Emarketer expects Amazon’s revenue to grow by more than 23 percent to $820 million, but there is no predicted growth in market share this year.

Google, Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft are all predicted to lose market share and revenue in the coming years. According to eMarketer, Google’s market share is expected to shrink 3.3 percent between 2013 and 2017, while Yahoo will lose 3.7 percent, AOL will slip 1.1 percent and Microsoft will lose 2.7 percent.

During the period between 2014 and 2017 desktop ad revenues are projected to decline slightly while mobile revenues skyrocket. Desktop ad revenues are expected to fall from $12.56 billion to $11.67 billion, while mobile will increase from $9.65 billion to $25.69 billion — an increase of more than 266 percent.

Facebook is predicted to generate $4.91 billion this year, and $7.52 billion by 2017 — an increase of 50 percent. Google will grow at a slower rate, increasing from $1.47 billion to $2.37 billion, and Twitter will grow from $1.19 billion to $2.29 billion by 2017.

It seems companies that have invested in advertising, and especially in mobile advertising, will be dominating the market in the coming years. If Google hopes to maintain its position of dominance, and if the likes of Yahoo and Microsoft want to stay relevant, they’ll need to make a serious investment in mobile.


Monday, March 30, 2015

10:09 (Apple) vs 10:10 (Everyone else)

Most watch ads use 10:10 as the watch’s default set time.  Some of the more famous watch makers have a preference for an exact time, for example, Rolex uses 10:10:31, TAG Heuer likes 10:10:37 and Bell & Ross opts for 10:10:10.  I didn’t know this, or never paid it much thought, but watchmakers have been using 10:10 in ads because it appears symmetrical and does not cover up the brand logo, which are usually engraved beneath the 12.

So why do all the Apple watch ads display 10:09?  And you know there is a deliberate reason.  It’s because they’re always ahead of the times! According to the Business Insider article, “It all boils down to Apple using a cheeky pun to symbolically stake its claim to the smartwatch market, all while tipping its hat to an age-old watchmakers tradition.”  Apple has been known to use display times that have a significance meaning.  Apple uses 9:41 on all of its iPhone ads and promotional materials because it was the time when Steve Jobs first unveiled the iPhone in 2007.


There are some other theories on why Apple is using 10:09, saying that 10:09 is more symmetrical.  But the pun theory is my favorite.  Either way, we know that Apple pays attention to every detail and the choice was no mistake.


Snapchat Campaigns

Interesting read in TechCrunch on a start-up called Naritiv which builds out Snapchat marketing campaigns through its key influence network.  The app and company are still in their relative infancy but I thought this was an interesting take on what Facebook offers (or will offer shortly).  I think we spoke about this in class but something like this would be ideal for fashion brands – snapchat out photos of new lines / new products with coupons embedded and get people interested and creating a buzz. 


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Shifting market share in Digital Marketing - in favor of social

Digital Marketing is becoming more social. That is conclusion suggested by new data from eMarketer, which was published this week.

In short, Facebook and Twitter are gaining market share (with Facebook's increasing to 25.2% from 23.8% and Twitter's increasing from 3.7% to 5.0%) while traditional, non-social market share is declining. The declines span across all major non-social players, including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.


A further interesting consideration is that social media is expected to continue growing its share of digital marketing spend quite aggressively over the coming years. Specifically, Facebook and Twitter are expected to grow their combined share to 34% by 2017 (from 27.5% today).

However, lost share at traditional (non-social) players does not mean that their digital marketing revenues are declining. In fact, the overall market is growing at such a rapid clip that even those companies losing share are still growing absolute digital marketing revenues at a healthy clip. For example, Google should see compound annual revenue growth in the low double digits for the next few years.

The growth rates are even more pronounced in mobile - as shown below. 


See more here: http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/emarketer-digital-marketing/617758


Trends including local

Digging into recent web trends, i focused the latest reading on 10 internet trends impacting marketers in 2015. Among the key themes are mobile and a shift to local. Notably, this shift to local has been an emphasis for professor kagan in recent months, emphasizing that while google had an opportunity before it, he saw a company like Yelp as having leverage over google in that it allowed for direct interactivity with local merchants while bypassing the google world. notably, this too is leveraged off the mobile theme, with yelp a primarily mobile phenomenon.

Among other trends identified is the broader shift towards the cloud, threatening the incumbent players to an extent previously unknown. while the article doesnt stray into the details significantly, the question remains how cloud can best be used to the users advantage, particularly as portability and sharing of data becomes so important.  from a marketing perspective, the angle of how to sell these products, and how to engage with customers becomes all the more important, particularly if ad sales are to continue to support online activities including cloud. it would seem the trends towards online spending will increase, the question is what are the limits of advertising dollars to meet an expanding pie of opportunities online?



Internet traffic all used up?

Looking deeper into the subject discussed in class around netflix usage, it appears of late netflix continues to dominate 35% of all internet traffic reflecting a massive usage of the internet's infrastructure for a single company. the question around whether this is fair is closely aligned to issues of free speech and 'equitable' use of the internet - the question that appears to come up from this all is there a way to make Netflix accountable for all this demand on the system - and are users implicitly paying for this infrastructure and the right to use their internet connectivity when they pay their monthly internet charges already - arguably yes.

Shifting to bittorrent, it's notable to see how tides have shifted in recent years, as this appears to have been the primary source of video downloads as recently as 2008, dominating traffic upwards to the same level of netflix. in some senses, this is a cautious datapoint for those who believe netflix or any tech company can continue to singularly dominate internet traffic.

notably, in asia, where netflix doesnt have the same popularity, bittorrent remains the focus of internet traffic accounting for about a third. arguably it's all for the same usage - whether legal or illegal. this begs the question of how content providers can evolve their business model to capture this market share. it's not just north america that is likely willing to pay a nominal fee for a premium streaming service i would argue. i'm curious to see what comes next.



What's relevant from the F8 conference

Taking a riff off the PC term for F8 keyboard button, Facebook held its annual conference to discuss the way forward for the company last week. The emphasis appears to have been on its mobile messaging platform, and the potential avenues for expanion, particularly via third-party apps. While i'm not necessarily convinced off the bat, it's certainly intriguing to watch.

A further angle clearly identified was towards virtual reality and making the experience more real via artificial intelligence. While unclear what angle this would take, it appears facebook remains on the cutting edge of 'novel' websites.

from a conventional competitive angle, emphasizing the ability to leverage content from other sides continues facebook's march into video exchange and sharing, making it a go-to for all sorts of media, even from other sites.



Saturday, March 28, 2015

2 Tips Marketers Can Learn from Insta-Stars

2 Tips Marketers Can Learn from Instagram Stars

1. Content must be "snackable":  the new norm is to look at bite-sized information just to get a quick glimpse into someone's story, the hottest trend or the latest breaking news.  Digital Advertisers can use this mechanism in their own campaigns, delivering small pieces of information through photo or anthems that eventually build into a larger story.

2.  Think like an advertiser but photograph like an artist:  instagram is about conveying a sense of personal expression and giving those around you a glimpse into the life you want to portray.  The content feels authentic and more impressive when the aesthetic is clear and held to a certain standard.  Online advertising can take a similar approach.  For example a travel & lifestyle magazine may want to post a series of photos from a trip to Croatia that looks like a person is experiencing this vacation but with a level of aesthetic that makes it seem desirable.



Periscope, Twitter's live-streaming app

Two days ago, Twitter unveiled Periscope, a live-streaming app the company acquired in January. With the emergence of Periscope, Meerkat is bound to face tough competition although it has begun to attract the attention of celebrities and other high-profile users. With the fast connection that we have today, powerful smartphones in the hands of many, and of course, the presence of social networks, live mobile video is finally gaining meaningful traction. As long as one has connection, he or she can turn into an instant broadcaster, allowing video to be streamed in real time to friends and followers. Like Meerkat, Periscope allows users to broadcast whatever they are doing with just a couple of taps. Users can also find out if followers or viewers adore what they are doing as comments and questions can be shared during the entire broadcasting session, and viewers can tap the screen to offer positive feedback in the form of hearts. Moreover, Periscope's ability to save streams for replays makes it a superior option than its rival.

Savvy marketers are quick to employ this app as one of their social tools. A few companies that have already started using Periscope in their marketing strategy include Spotify and DKNY. After joining Periscope, Spotify posted a behind-the-scenes video with singer Conor O'Brien. The live stream garnered 382 views and 1,534 hearts (the equivalent of Facebook likes), and the video had been replayed at least 99 times. On the other hand, DKNY gave viewers a look into its fashion closet on Thursday after announcing via Twitter it had opened an account.

Below is a video that demonstrates how the app works:


"Explore the world through someone else's eyes"... and no I'm not referring to a warg.

Last month I wrote a post about a few of Twitter's aggressive growth initiatives. Today, I share with you their newest one, Periscope.

Launched just two days ago, Periscope is Twitter's response to Meerkat, a live-streaming video app.  Although it is only available on iOS devices, the product has attracted the attention of many users and brands.

What is Periscope?  It is a platform for streaming live video from your iPhone from anywhere in the world (that has a connection). Just download the app from the Apple store, log in, enable the camera and become a broadcaster.  Not in the mood to be famous yet?  Well, you can always watch other peoples' videos instead.  The popularity of live-streaming videos is the idea of discovering the world through someone else's eyes.  As described by the creators of Periscope, " a picture may be worth a thousand words, but live video can take you someplace and show you around." As with Twitter, this app allows you to follow people and be alerted of their new broadcasts.  You also have the option to browse around for something that catches your eyes.  And if you don't have enough time to watch the entire video, you can always save it and watch it later.

And the most loved feature of Periscope... the hearts that you can give to the videos you like or love.  Similar to a "like" button, this feature lets you send a heart or even many hearts to the broadcaster of your choice and with enough hearts, this person can be featured as a "most loved".

The product has already gained some early adopters.  Adweek, shared information on how 4 brands are already using the Periscope app.

Spotify, a music-streaming service posted a behind-the-scenes video with Conor O'Brien from the band Villagers.

"During the live stream, 382 viewers tuned into the live stream, racking up 1,534 hearts—the equivalent of "liking" something on Facebook.  As of 6 p.m. last night, the video had been replayed 99 times and received 255 hearts."


The brand used the app to create a short video titled "Stop by to say what's up."

"The short clip showed a girl spelling out the word "Swag" on a chalkboard with a table full of branded T-shirts and hats in front of it."


Red Bull, known for their sense of adventure and risk, always open to trying new things, experimented with Periscope during Miami Music Week this weekend. 

"The brand will live stream events happening at its Red Bull Guest House. Social content will also be pushed out via Twitter and Snapchat."

And the fourth brand, DKNY, gave viewers a look into its fashion closet last week, shortly after announcing it had opened an account via Twitter.

"Fashion brands already regularly employ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to give folks a peek into its world, so it's likely that fashion-minded marketers will embrace Periscope."

Are you willing to give Periscope a try?


Article about Data driven art of digital marketing

The article "Article about Data driven art of digital marketing" gives me some ideas. In this era, we are surrounded by abundance of data. Thanks to that, we can make the best of data to make informed decisions, and how to utilize the data is truly an art form.

It is clear that we have experienced an evolution. We no longer use a shared computer with our family members; rather, one person can have several devices. It means nowadays many companies have more user profiles than there are consumers. Thus, marketers should use a cross device targeting strategy so that advertisers can measure for cross device attribution.

Is this the end of the story? No! Marketers also need to change their attribution model if it can’t give credit for that mobile ad that drove a desktop conversion; otherwise, marketing campaigns will not perform well. Before that, just stick to the original strategy and keep mobile and desktop campaigns siloed to improve return on ad spend (ROAS).

ROAS is the most important metric. Since we need to make assumptions about attribution to get ROAS, people can also easily interpret ROAS as much as they want in their ways.

Dynamic creative can be applied to small and mid-size organizations.  Therefore, it is not the case that only big organizations with huge data can successfully manage to use dynamic creative to optimize their ad and give better marketing experience. The CTR metric sometimes are not accurate.

The original article can be found at http://marketingland.com/data-driven-art-digital-marketing-121667


Mobile Marketing and Google

It is less certain that Google is the sole dominant player in the online advertising landscape. Companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Yelp are catching up fast with their own special weapons. Specialized search, which is invisible to Google, are taking an increasing part of the market share. This trend has becoming dangerous in some sense because the more specialized search would most definitely take over some of the search volume from Google. More importantly, these specialized searches are usually the most profitable searches where people are looking into one specifically category of products/ services. This trend is further catalyzed by the movement into mobile where a lot of searches are done in specialized apps. Android has been a great platform for Google to maintain its dominance in searches. Recently, WSJ recently commented:

Google is a big player in mobile through its Android mobile-operating system, which ran about 80% of the smartphones shipped in 2014, estimates Strategy Analytics. Its apps, including Google Maps, YouTube, and Gmail, are among the most popular for smartphones. When smartphone users do open a Web browser, Google is even more dominant than on personal computers, with an 84% share of U.S. searches in February, according to StatCounter. ComScore doesn’t release its mobile estimates.

The company’s tactics, particularly the agreements that Google signs with smartphone makers, have piqued the interest of antitrust regulators in Europe. Those deals have required device makers to install a range of Google’s less popular apps and to set some Google services like search as defaults in order to gain access to more popular apps like Google Maps and the Play Store digital bazaar, where users can download more than a million other apps and games.



Friday, March 27, 2015

How to make both online and offline shopping more effective

People go to shopping malls to fit clothes and shoes they like and finally make purchase online for better price. The phenomenon exists and is becoming more and more common in people’s shopping behavior. Taking advantages of service from real stores and enjoying a lower price online would finally influence the service quality of entire industry.
There is a store in SoHo called Warby Parker. In the store, tall, carefully stacked shelves with hand-picked literature, vintage issues of Paris Review and comfy mid-century chairs invite weary SoHo shoppers to take a load off and sink into a book. However, Warby Parker is not a library but an eyewear store.
What Warby Parker understands is that the store of the future should be personalized. When a customer walks into a store, he should experience the product instead of being sold products. Building a real user experience is the key to open customers’ heart.

As I said in the beginning, customers go to real store to experience products and buy them online. However, not every product can be reached in a real store. As a result, should online retailers only carry goods that can be tried in real store? No. An online store should also construct an environment for customers to experience their products, especially those unique ones. As a result, the service quality of both real store and online store would keep up. Moreover, customers could experience a enjoyable shopping experience.


Foursquare powering Twitter's location library

Twitter and Foursquare announced a partnership this week where Foursquare is powering location-tagging in tweets. Essentially Twitter users can now tag their specific location using Twitter's new Foursquare-powered location library. Foursquare claims to be the "location layer of the Internet" or "the system that crawls the world with people in the same way Google crawls web pages with machines." In the last 6 years they have seen 7 billion checkins, 65M places, 250M photos, and 70M tips. Foursquare is trying to get users to checkin and 'location tag' because it will help make their location layer platform better much like how Google and Bing make their search results better each time someone searches for something because of a continuous feedback loop. Powering Twitter's location library is a significant coup d'etat because, well, Twitter sees 500+ million tweets a day and that is usage that will just make Foursquare's library that many times better. Why is this relevant to advertisers? Adam Dorfman from SIM Partners explains in his article:

"The Twitter/Foursquare relationship creates an opportunity for businesses (such as large enterprises with multiple locations) to create more location-relevant information, such as offers and recommendations. For instance, if you Tweet about the lunch you are having in the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, the Banana Republic Twitter account that you follow just might want to let you know about a sale going on at the nearby Banana Republic in the Financial Center. But retailers are not the only brands that can benefit. For instance, a medical practice might share with you information about the doctors at its location depending on where you are and what you are doing."

Location is one of the last critical pieces of information advertisers need to truly advertise customers based on context which is likely the next vector after intent (Google) and interest (Facebook). This news helps jumpstart that vector in a real way.


The Future of Social Media?

In an article published on iMediaConnection last May, a media and marketing blog, author Chris Marentis laid out his 5 predictions for the future of social media, or as he implied "the true merits" of social media. As time goes on, he argued, and social media becomes more universal, the most valuable aspects of social media will become more apparent. He predicted what these will be:

  1. Social Media will make big data bigger - OK, we could have guessed this one. This isn't so much a prediction as it is an observation. As we know, Facebook's push toward Messenger and the amazing Facebook Connect function have given Facebook vast amounts of data on users' locations, usage behavior, and more. This kind of data collection is only growing as more apps and social media sites link up and share information. 
  2. Mobile Entertainment is on the rise, and social media will become part of that new ecosystem  - Again, ok, not a big jump. Netflix and Hulu already try to share everything I watch on Facebook with my friends...
  3. Marketing programs will reintegrate - Specifically, this is referring to the fact that more of an effort will need to be paid to the integration of multiple marketing campaigns and channels running at one time. For example, it will become more and more important that messaging reinforce itself across platforms - digital, print, tv, etc. - and be backed up with complementary and well executed social media marketing. This makes sense, since social media is where the loyalty and brand community is actually developing. 
  4. Content marketing will grow - I think it is easily predicted that content production will increase as more people are introduced to environments where they are encouraged to publish content. However, Marentis specifically predicts that there will be a new market for simpler and better designed content management systems (CMS) as well. This is an interesting one.
  5. The power of your network will deliver - Social media networks will become more valuable and will be necessary for entering markets. However, creating a respectful relationship with your following will also become vital, and privacy concerns will take center stage. Marketers will need to be careful to not over- or misuse their followers' information lest they face a real and present danger of social media backlash.
Some of these are more observations than predictions, but the points are valid nonetheless. We have already seen that in the cases of privacy and big data, there have already been huge moves forward in these predicted directions for the industry. While I think we could definitely add some more predictions to the list, maybe I should start investing in CMS tech companies...


The Facebook P2P Mobile Payment is more than just a payment method

Online Payment has been a dream of Facebook for eight years. It was also clear that when the company hired former PayPal executive David Marcus last year that it was planning to turn that dream into business.
Not surprisingly, Facebook has announced launching of peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile payments into its Messenger application. Honestly, it works basically like GMail payments or Square Cash that only supports debit card transactions, and for now only in US.
According to the announcement, “The first time you send or receive money in Messenger, you’ll need to add a Visa or MasterCard debit card issued by a US bank to your account. Once you add a debit card, you can create a PIN to provide additional security the next time you send money. On iOS devices you can also enable Touch ID. As always, you can add another layer of authentication to your account at any time.” Theoretically, the money is immediately transferred. However Facebook indicates that it can take up to three days to receive the funds depending on the underlying bank’s policies.

Given the popularity of Facebook around the world, it is reasonable for us to say that this mobile payment method will ultimately roll out globally and it could become quite successful (for different reasons in different countries). Beyond that, a more interesting question is what might come after the P2P mobile payment.
Obviously, such a powerful payments capability could enhance e-commerce on Facebook or provide consumer spending data to Facebook ad targeting. In just last week, Facebook announced the acquisition of TheFind, publicly discussed as a way to improve Facebook Ad targeting and relevance. However, TheFind is a shopping site that could provide Facebook with an immediate e-commerce marketplace capability. It still remains to be seen whether e-commerce is the next target that Facebook is moving towards. Mobile payments would obviously be supportive of e-commerce. It’s also not inconceivable that Facebook would get into in-app payments or offline mobile payments in physical stores at some future point. Marcus has experience with all these things.
All these payment scenarios also raise the prospect of “closed loop” transactions and the ROI reporting and optimization benefits they imply.